Founder of French anti-gay National Front suspended from party
The founder and honorary president of the French National Front (FN) has been suspended from the party.
Jean-Marie Le Pen was suspended over a series of remarks, including labelling the Prime Minister an immigrant, and amid a feud with his daughter Marine, the leader of the party.
Mr Le Pen has in the past described the Holocaust as “a detail of history”, and is seen by many as an element of a past the far-right party has attempted to distance itself from.
He founded the party in 1972, and was its leader until 2011. He holds a seat in the European Parliament and is a regional councillor in the south of France.
Refusing to go before the party’s board, Mr Le Pen said he had been “disowned” by his political family. His role as honorary president will be reviewed, the FN said in a statement, however he has not been dismissed.
Ahead of the hearing, Marine said he would “no longer be able to speak in the name of the National Front”.
It is expected that a party congress will be held within several months, and that the role of honorary president could be retired.
The FN has previously been accused of fostering homophobic violence by aligning itself with aggressive anti-equal marriage factions, with a 78% rise in anti-gay attacks across France.
Front Nationale candidate Anne-Sophie Leclere was jailed in June for comparing the country’s justice minister to a “chimpanzee” after she denounced the party as homophobic.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has previously ruled out working with Le Pen, accusing her party of “anti-semitism and general prejudice”.